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Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad”

Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad” (photo)

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Comedic actor and up-and-coming screenwriter Jonah Hill has brightened every feature Judd Apatow has yet directed (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Funny People”), and would like you to stop thinking he’s the vulgar loudmouth he played in “Superbad.” If anything, he thinks his recent gig as the hapless liaison to Russell Brand’s rock star in “Get Him to the Greek” is probably the closest to himself he’s ever played since, as Hill told me, “he’s ambitious, good-intentioned and works hard.” Let’s give him that one, if only because he’s starring in his second feature to be released this month.

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (“The Puffy Chair,” “Baghead”) have given Hill his most dramatic role yet as the eponymous weirdo in “Cyrus,” a smart indie blend of humor and heartbreak. John C. Reilly stars as a miserably divorced man who finally meets a very special lady (Marisa Tomei), only to discover her grown son (Hill) is a creepy, over-possessive product of too much parental coddling. At the press junket, where I was gifted a funny promotional T-shirt that I’ll unfortunately never wear in public because it says “Seriously, Don’t F**k My Mom,” I sat down with Hill to discuss the music that influenced him on the “Cyrus” set, making his mother cry, and the fact that you already think his “21 Jump Street” remake will suck.

Not to draw such direct comparisons to Cyrus, but are you socially awkward in any way?

If you caught me on certain days, I would be totally different in that regard. My girlfriend always makes fun of me because I’ll say, “I don’t want to go to this party, it’s going to be awkward,” or I just want to hang out at home. Then she’s like, “You end up closing down the party, the last person to leave, always talking to everybody.” Then on different days, I really am uncomfortable in big social settings. I love watching movies and hanging out with loved ones. That’s where my heart’s at and where I usually have the most fun.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus2.jpgHave you ever felt spoiled by your parents, like Cyrus’ mother does to him?

I don’t think so. They were really supportive, hard on me when they had to be, and continue to be loving. My parents saw the movie at Sundance with my girlfriend and other family members, and I think it’s their favorite movie I’ve ever been in. For me, the hardest scene to watch and my favorite I’ve ever done in any movie is in “Cyrus,” when Marisa Tomei and I are on the bed, she’s admitting she made mistakes in raising me, and I’m admitting for the first time — being honest and not manipulative — that my fear is she’s replacing me with this other person. My heart breaks for both of those characters.

My mom was crying after the movie. It broke my heart because I always looked at it from Cyrus’s point of view — obviously, because I was playing that character — thinking, “It’s so sad, this guy’s losing the one person who cares about him and who he cares about.” My mom was touched by it, because she was like, “It made me think about raising three kids, and times I felt I was making mistakes.” You do your best and there’s no guidebook to it. It must be hard to think, “Maybe I messed up in certain ways.”

Do you want to raise children?

Definitely. That’s one of the great joys of life, especially watching Mark and Jay become fathers. Watching them deal with their kids is really inspiring. John Reilly has a great family, as do a lot of people I’ve worked with — Judd [Apatow], Nick Stoller.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus8.jpgThe reason you work so hard is you love making movies, but the reason you work harder is because you want to have a family and want to be able to buy your kids clothes or food and make sure they’re able to live, you know?

If you’re not anything like your “Superbad” role, as you mentioned, has the real Jonah Hill ever come out in any of your characters?

I don’t think anyone knows me that well if they’re just going on my movies. In my job, unfortunately, I don’t think you can control what people think about you. I’m really proud of my family, friends and girlfriend, and I’m very insular in that way of hanging with them. I’m not out on the Hollywood scene or going to nightclubs and stuff like that. I’m just about making good movies, and I’m prideful of what you said because it’s great that all people know about me are the movies I put out. That’s good for an actor. You don’t want people to know too much because it’s that much harder to convince them that you’re somebody else. When people who think I’m that “Superbad” guy see this movie, it’s going to be shocking because it’s so different.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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